ConocoPhillips CEO credits UT, ROTC program for his success

Brianna Pelayo

UT alumnus and ConocoPhillips CEO James Mulva said attending the University and the small habit of never wanting to lose is what got him to the top of his business.

To start off the year’s first Liberal Arts Council Speaker Series, Mulva participated in an informal interview Monday, allowing current students to hear about the life and achievements of a prestigious UT graduate.

He said the education he received at UT and in the ROTC program was essential to his success in his career. Mulva spoke about his success after graduating from the University and what it took for him to get where he is today.

“I wouldn’t trade it for anything, I’m totally engaged in what I do,” Mulva said. “I think I work for a noble industry.”

Mulva graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in the class of ’68 and continued on as a class of ’69 graduate with his master’s degree in business administration. He served four years in the Navy before beginning his career with the Phillips Petroleum Company in 1973, where he became president in 1994. In 2002, he was involved in managing the merger of Conoco and Phillips together to form the ConocoPhillips Energy Company, the third largest energy company in the United States and one of the largest in the world.

John Goodrich, Naval ROTC Battalion Commanding Officer, said Mulva donated $15 million to the College of Liberal Arts, which will go towards the construction of a new building for the college on the East Mall and will also provide a centrally located home for the ROTC program.

“I understand the importance of liberal arts … for any great university or institution. For engineering, medicine and all the different disciplines to have a great liberal arts program is really required for a great university like the University of Texas,” Mulva said. “The ROTC units happen to be placed and resided in liberal arts, so when it comes to young men and women who want to do that, we really need to help and support them.”

Rebecca James, a liberal arts freshman who helped organize the event, said the purpose of the interview was to showcase a successful alumnus and to honor his donation to COLA.

“He is one of the most distinguished alumni to graduate with a liberal arts degree from UT,” James said. “We want to honor his donation by giving him the opportunity to speak in our Speaker Series.”

The series aims to connect current UT students with graduated alumni by bringing prominent UT graduates to come speak about the lasting significance of their degree and experiences at the University.

“The main purpose of having James Mulva speak to students is to allow current students to hear about the life of a highly successful UT graduate,” James said. “We want to show students that what happens at UT can really change the world.”  

Printed on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 as: Alumnus credits UT, ROTC for success